This morning the flour and fat,
Butter, yeast, and salt
Work beneath my hands until
Velvety smoothness emerges.
This sensual act necessary.
The satisfaction in change,
The hope for stretchy perfection,
The gratification in feeding my people.
I’m kneading away hate.
This emotion, call it love,
Infusing this dough,
Can’t find a way forward.
Powerless to change the omnipresent news
So odiously orange,
I bring together the parts I can control.
Roll them into smooth harmony,
Watch them rise together,
And dream this will literally come true.
You have to break some eggs to make an omelet,
But there’s no crying over spilt milk.
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Still a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
And I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Listen, that dog don’t hunt,
Like an octopus wearing socks,
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
You have to pay the piper,
You know, where the rubber meets the road.
Luckily, it takes two to tango.
I know I’m not just whistling Dixie.
It’s just not over until the fat lady sings.
The sunflower leaps out of the prairie
Foregrounded and unique with dozens
Of identical twins bobbing
Alongside the dusty section road.
This Nebraska corner,
At once fecund and desolate,
With its limitless horizon and sky
And limited possibilities.
Before immigrants emigrated here
The larks were here.
The river, the trees, the birds
Carried the weight of Willa Cather’s death and happiness:
“part of something entire,
whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge.”
They carried my weight, too,
One warm, breezy, September day.
I looked for Cather’s vistas
And ate lunch in her cousin’s house.
They support my purpose now,
My imaginative setting for philosophy
Written and inscribed here
As the river inscribes the hills.
The landscape bears the burden
Of poppies and people
Homes, hopes, ideas.
Gods holding back no one’s dreams.